Who’s Out There?: Orson Welles Narrates a Documentary Asking Whether There’s Extraterrestrial Life in the Universe (1975)

≡ Category: Science, Television |Leave a Comment

Does intelligent life exist elsewhere in the universe? The question has captivated humankind for centuries upon centuries; long before the X-Files popularized the declaration, we’ve wanted to believe.

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Stephen Fry Launches Pindex, a “Pinterest for Education”

≡ Category: Education, Science, Web/Tech |14 Comments

Who can now deny that, in the internet, we have the greatest educational tool ever conceived by mankind? Surely no Open Culture reader would deny it, anyway, nor could they fail to take an interest in a new startup aiming to increase the internet’s educational power further still: Pindex, which calls itself “a Pinterest for educati

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World Science U Lets You Take Free Physics Courses from Leading Minds in the Field

≡ Category: Online Courses, Science |Leave a Comment

Two years ago, World Science U debuted on the net, promising to bring free science courses to anyone, from high schoolers to retirees. (We wrote about it here.) The courses would be taught by the top scientists in their fields, featuring lectures, animations, interactive exercises, feedback, and even virtual office hours.

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Download 14 Free Posters from NASA That Depict the Future of Space Travel in a Captivatingly Retro Style

≡ Category: Science, Travel |3 Comments

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If I could send a message back in time, I might send it to the wide-eyed and skyward-looking children of 1960s America, apologizing that we never did build those jetpacks, flying cars, and moon colonies, but also letting them know that at least we, the citizens of the 21st century, have developed such technologies as smartphones and a myriad of wa

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Animated Interview: Sally Ride Tells Gloria Steinem About the Challenge of Being the First American Women in Space (1983)

≡ Category: Animation, Life, Science |Leave a Comment

Blank on Blank returned this week with the latest episode in “The Experimenters,” a miniseries highlighting the icons of STEM.

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Psychedelic Animation Takes You Inside the Mind of Stephen Hawking

≡ Category: Animation, Physics, Science |Leave a Comment

What’s it like inside the mind of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking? Is it an electro-cosmic dance party narrated by Carl Sagan? I would like to think so.

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Why Violins Have F-Holes: The Science & History of a Remarkable Renaissance Design

≡ Category: History, Music, Science |8 Comments

Before electronic amplification, instrument makers and musicians had to find newer and better ways to make themselves heard among ensembles and orchestras and above the din of crowds. Many of the acoustic instruments we’re familiar with today—guitars, cellos, violas, etc.

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The First Photo-Illustrated Book, Anna Atkins’ Austerely Beautiful Photographs of British Algae (1843)

≡ Category: Biology, Books, Photography, Science |1 Comment

Some of our favorite, and most popular, posts at Open Culture focus on book illustration. From fine art to graphic design, from the sublime to the ridiculous to the purely technical, the art used to visualize beloved works of literature and scientific texts captivates us.

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An Animated Neil deGrasse Tyson Gives an Eloquent Defense of Science in 272 Words, the Same Length as The Gettysburg Address

≡ Category: Education, Science |3 Comments

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the most prominent public defender of science education and funding, frequently comes in for some good-natured ribbing for his genial pedantry, ascension to Carl Sagan’s unofficial spokesmanship, and downgrading of the beloved Pluto from planet status. But he takes it all in stride.

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Soviet Inventor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Early Electronic Instrument That Could Be Played Without Being Touched (1954)

≡ Category: Music, Science |Leave a Comment

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You know the sound of the theremin, that weird, warbly whine that signals mystery, danger, and otherworldly portent in many classic sci-fi films. It has the distinction of being not only the very first electronic instrument but also the only instrument in history one plays without ever touching any part of it.

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